Academics

Academics at Phelps

Our three core strengths are:

 Learning environment tailored to boys
 Caring mentors in small classes
 Diverse students who become close friends

These core strengths are essential to our mission: to help boys become confident learners and compassionate leaders, to prepare young men of character for lives of purpose and meaning.

Our focus is on positive engagement and personal development.  Our rigorous curriculum challenges the most talented of students in AP and standard college-prep courses, while our cornerstone Academic Support Program provides essential scaffolding for each boy’s learning progress and success.

The Phelps Method

An educational paradigm focused on developing the whole person (mind, body, and spirit) while sustaining a young man’s need for:

  • Independence
  • Structure
  • Individual Achievement
  • Team-oriented Success

New Classes

  • College in High School

    About the Program

    College in High School (CHS) is a program at the University of Pittsburgh that allows high school students to gain Pitt credits for classes taken at their high school with an authorized instructor. Phelps is pleased to join the CHS program in the 2021-2022 school year by adding an International Relations class to our course offerings for seniors and post graduates. The course will be a full year class taught by Dr. Jack Hasler, who has previously taught similar courses at George Washington University.

    What are the benefits of the CHS program?

    Our students will be exposed to college-level material and assessments, which will better prepare them to succeed after they graduate.

    Our students can gain college credit for Phelps courses. Even when these credits do not transfer, the class will strengthen our students’ college applications.

    The program will hopefully do a better job of addressing our students that require accommodations than the AP classes can since it does not require standardized testing.

    The program comes at no cost to Phelps or its instructors, and our students only see an extra fee ($225) if they want the Pitt credits.


    How does a student in a CHS class get college credit?

    The class roster is sent to CHS and the student has the opportunity to register with the University of Pittsburgh (and pay the appropriate fee). If they register and then pass the class, the student will receive a University of Pittsburgh transcript with the class credit. That credit should transfer as easily as any other Pitt credit. 

    How will the CHS program change the 2021-2022 school year?

    We are piloting the program at Phelps with a single course (International Relations) that is not already offered. At minimum, this will expand the electives offered to juniors and seniors. If the class is successful and gets positive feedback from students, families, and faculty, we will consider adding more classes the following year. 

    How does CHS relate to AP classes?

    CHS is not intended to replace any AP classes at Phelps. CHS classes, however, may offer a more attractive option than AP for many of our students. Unlike AP classes where college credit is test based, CHS grants credits based on a passing grade in the approved class.

    How does CHS approve Phelps classes?

    CHS maintains a list of classes that they are willing to approve. The instructor of an eligible class applies by submitting their resume, copies of their transcripts, a letter of recommendation from the headmaster, and a class syllabus, which is then approved by CHS.

    How does CHS handle accommodation requests?

    If a student with accommodations is interested in a CHS class, we send the information to the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Disability Resources and Services (DRS). They will then make a determination and notify us and the student of their decision.

    Will all students be capable of taking a CHS class at Phelps?

    Just as with our existing Honors and AP classes, a CHS class may not be appropriate for every student, but we hope that most juniors, seniors, and postgrads will be able to take advantage of the program. For some students, they may be best served by taking an adjusted version of the class that does not qualify for CHS credit.

  • Rich Course Offerings

    Courses such as the AP Computer Science in Java and Introduction to Computer Science in Python are a part of our rich curriculum.

    AP Computer Science teaches students the basics of Java programming and prepares them for the AP Exam in Computer Science A.

    Introduction to Computer Science in Python presents the fundamentals of programming and advanced features of the Python language. It’s equivalent to a semester-long college introductory course in Python.

    Read more.

  • Postgraduate Program

    The Phelps School’s Postgraduate Program offers high school graduates the opportunity to dedicate an intensive and purposeful “gap” year to achieving academic, athletic, or personal goals in route to optimum college readiness.

    Read more about the program.

The Phelps Middle School Grades Our younger students enjoy the best of both worlds.
In small classes with highly qualified middle-school
teachers, they get the personal attention they need,
including age-appropriate activities to address important
social-emotional issues.

At the same time, they enjoy being part of the larger
Phelps student body and developing relationships with
student-leaders, such as their dorm proctors, hand-picked
mentors who guide and support younger students through
daily school life.

National Honor Society

The Phelps School National Honor Society Chapter includes students in grades 10 through 12 who have exhibited outstanding leadership, service, and character. Boys who have excelled academically (cumulative 3.25 unweighted GPA) are invited to apply. NHS members tutor fellow students and lead community service projects.

Peek inside our classrooms

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